Title: THE LAND OF LOST SOULS
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Word Count: 83,000
Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? Without a doubt, my main character, “Diamond Bessie,” would choose Rey. Just as Rey was abandoned by her parents, Bessie was abandoned by an unforgiving society for being a “fallen woman.” Both are determined, resourceful, and survivors. Even though Bessie is killed by her husband of eleven days and seeks revenge, like Rey, Bessie also finally realizes her own power: the power to forgive and find peace.
35 Word Pitch: Nineteenth century prostitute “Diamond Bessie” seeks revenge for her murder from the afterlife, fearing others will fall prey to her killer if he’s acquitted. But she learns that revenge is not what she truly wants.
First 250 Words:
February 1877, Jefferson, Texas
Fifteen days passed before someone found my body. I know, because I waited.
A woman ventured out of her cabin to gather kindling, singing as she walked through the woods. My fully clothed body had been carefully laid out like a corpse in a coffin. The snow-covered ground, a log, and a canopy of bare trees served as my funerary box. One arm had been placed on my chest, the other lay by my side, and my hat strategically covered the left side of my head.
The singing woman stopped when she saw me. I’m sure at first she thought I was taking a peaceful afternoon nap. But I wasn’t napping, and I felt anything but peaceful. My anger had hardly begun to subside. It stirred the wind, darkened the woods, kept the buzzards, hogs, and even sparrows at a distance. I hadn’t ventured from my spot. I needed to protect my body. No matter how long it took, I had to remain recognizable.
The woman was far enough away that she couldn’t touch me but close enough to see the maggots wriggling around my eyes and mouth. I could feel the woman’s heart pounding, each beat mingling with the sound of a nearby brook running fast after the thaw.
She turned and rushed off. It wouldn’t be long now.
Soon, a wagon stopped nearby. Several men approached while the woman stayed off at a distance. One of the men knelt down and took off my hat.